Sports Are Going Green

June 25, 2015

By Mark Bishop, VP of Policy

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good college football game. When I watch sports, that’s my game of choice. I smile every time I think back to being in the stands at Michigan Stadium watching Desmond Howard’s finger tip catch in the end zone against Notre Dame.

But it was only until recently that I started to think about what happens after the fans leave the stadiums or the athletes leave the workout rooms or lockers. It’s here where some of the unsung heroes — the custodial staff — start their day and make sure our facilities are safe, clean and healthy for us all to come back to the next day.

Healthy Schools Campaign’s long-time partner Steve Ashkin is a board member of the Green Sports Alliance (GSA), an organization dedicated to creating “healthy and sustainable communities where we live and play.” The jump from green sports to green schools is not one that is hard for us to make. School have athletic fields, stadiums, locker rooms, swimming pools, tracks and similar facility challenges of any sports team. But it was when Steve informed us that he was going to work with the GSA to create a “playbook” for green cleaning, that we really made the connection.

Cleaning is integral to any facility, whether it is cleaning a school nurse office, a cafeteria or a wrestling mat, all require an attention to purchasing, process and equipment. And through the choices we make and the training we provide, we can create healthier and more sustainable environments for all fans, adults and students alike.

This is why we are excited to join Steve next week at the GSA Summit as he launches his Playbook on Greener Cleaning in Sports Facilities. The Playbook takes the approach we’ve used for the past 10 years in greening cleaning schools and applies it to sports facilities. But more than that, we see it as an opportunity to partner with the sports community to continue to engage our schools in creating healthier and more sustainable environments for school staff, student-athletes and fans. We want to share best practices, learn what’s going on in universities and stadiums and bring these lessons back to our schools.

So, if, like me, you have a love for sports and for sustainability, consider joining us at the Green Sports Alliance Summit here in Chicago from June 29 to July 1, 2015. With more than 750 participants and over 80 presentations and workshops, there will be something for everyone. We’ll be there with Steve as he introduces his new Playbook on Greener Cleaning in Sports Facilities.

It’s going to be more than just a great event; it’s going to be the start of some great work that brings together clean schools, clean facilities and the excitement and health benefits that are inherent to the world of sports.